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Thread: This is why I only do applique quilts

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by topstitch View Post
    could you be ironing ibstead of pressing?????
    Oh my I DO iron. I had no idea I was just supposed to "press".

  2. #52
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    Your work looks exactly like 99.99% of the rest of ours when we started out. Here are my suggestions to combat those fears, and others have their way of doing things but this is how I get perfect seams and finished blocks. One key thing to remember: When doing piecework, a ruler is your best friend. I keep a 1x12, a small square, and a similar rectangle ruler near my machine at all times. Before doing the next seam when doing piecework, measure the seams against the finished size. For this pattern, sew 3 squares together, then measure the center square to make sure it is the size the pattern calls for. Do this for all 3 strips of the 3 squares sewn together. Then sew one strip of 3 squares to another. Now measure from the center points of where the 2 triangles meet out to the seam line. Is it exactly half of the total 'finished' size of the triangle square? If not, the seam line is off. When I sew strips together where I have to match up points, I first 'baste' with a longer stitch. Instead of 1.8 or 2, I use a 3.5. That way, if the measurement is off, I sew the seam again without taking out that 'basting' stitch (unless the edges of the strips don't line up which means that measurement is off.) Measure the seam and if correct, pull out the first seam and measure again. When it is correct, reduce the stitch length and sew on that basting line. If you sew a little off the line, simply turn over the fabric to the front and check for any stitches poking through. Turn it back over and carefully snip those stray stitches and pull through. Measure again when adding the third strip. When adding the frames to the squares, measure the strip widths (white sq with triangle sq), and then measure the square for finished size (triangle points to triangle points. Your next step is important for lining up: before adding the adjoining square, fold over the narrow sash (frame). Make marks where the 2 seams are on the 3-squared strip. Fold back over and pin the seams of the square to line up with those 2 marks you made. Put the pin directly into the seam holes. Take a ruler and place it along the seam lines and check if the seam lines up, and if the 2 horizontal strips of squares you just made are the finished size of the pattern. I hope this has made sense and once you get the hang of it, it will be second nature to use the rulers. Practice practice practice and you will amaze yourself.
    P.S. You didn't post to have us point out any flaws, because there aren't any. You came for guidance and we are pretty good at that as we have all been there! And if it were me, I wouldn't take this apart or throw it away. Frame it for your sewing room wall. It will do wonders for your sewing self esteem. I have a wall full of stuff that shows me how far I have come. I think if you continue with these colors and patterns, you are going to have a beautiful wallhanging to show off!

  3. #53
    Power Poster solstice3's Avatar
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    I think it looks pretty darn good!! Sometimes I believe it is all in the way you hold your mouth when sewing (haha)

  4. #54
    Super Member JoanneS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonomine View Post
    What are thangles? No, I didn't use a rotary cutter. It's been so long since I've used them their as dull as a butter knife!
    There are so many balls to keep in the air when you're quilting, and it takes a lot of practice - LOL. You chose one of the most difficult things - quarter square triangles -QSTs. Many quilters avoid them like the plague! Same with half square triangles - HSTs. There are many tricks to make them - Thangles being one of them. Accuquilt has dies to cut out both. I bought dies in several sizes for my Accuquilt because I love HSTs , but I hated to sew them before I got my Accuquilt. Now I love to use them!

    Don't give up. Everyone has to start somewhere.

    I think you need a new blade in your rotary cutter. I put a new one in at the start of each project - though I don't use it as often now that I have Accuquilt. No, I don't work for A, nor am I an investor - LOL.

  5. #55
    Senior Member jarenie's Avatar
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    I tried needle turn applique and ended up with fuzzy edges when I washed the quilt. But my dogs do not mind as it is their quilt now. I have been piecing for years and have not trouble making this match.
    Want to trade. I will do your piecing and you do my applique?

  6. #56
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    what a great group of commentors and encouragers. I love that . I see lots of effort and no fault in what you have done. I'd continue on if I were you. Keep on keeping on. You won't be sorry. HUGS

  7. #57
    Super Member cowgirlquilter's Avatar
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    My goodness it is adorable. Please know we all have to start somewhere, and if you saw my first attempt ou would really chuckle!!!,
    Theressa
    Cowgirlquilter

  8. #58
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    Relax! Your quilt doesn't look that bad! I think very often we are our own worst critic. If you want a accurate 1/4, may I suggest a 1/4inch foot with guide presser foot for your sewing machine. I think you can find one for most sewing machines. When you are sewing, you have the fabric up against the guide,Presto! Perfect 1/4 seams the easy way.As far as sewing triangles goes, have you ever considered the Wonder Ruler? You make a tube and then use the ruler to cut out a perfect ruler. I think the Missouri Star Quilt co has a video on using a regular ruler to achieve the same results. As with anything you do in life, practice makes perfect. Good Luck!

  9. #59
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    Just looking at the seams, it appears that you are not taking a consistent 1/4" seam. There are several ways to fix this pretty block. One way is to make a bridge of tape for your fabric to push against when it is under the needle. Measure by putting your ruler under the needle and rolling it down until it sits on the 1/4" mark. Mark where 1'4" is on your face plate and make a mark. Now, using several pieces of masking tape or blue painter's tape, stack them up, keeping them exactly in line and on your 1'4" mark, until you have about 10 or so of them--a bridge that will allow you to guide your fabric along the tape. You should be able to sew a consistent 1/4" seam that way. Two: If that method doesn't work, go to the drug or grocery story and buy moleskin (you line your shoe heel with it or put it where your shoe rubs a sore spot. Using your rotary cutter and a ruler, cut a strip 1/4" wide. Peel the adhesive off and stick it on your face place 1/4" from the needle. This also will help you to sew a consistent seam. It will wear down, however, so you will need to check it periodically. You can, by the way, lift the strip of blue painter's tape and stick it on your sewing machine until you need it again. Three: On some machines there is a hole that you can screw in a seam guide which can be adjusted to seam width also. Good luck. Hope this answered your question.

  10. #60
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    I am close to being in the same boat as you are, and I've been quilting for about 12 years now. I'm not very critical, even of my own work, but piecing and blocks drive me up a creek. I took an 8 once-a-week class, and we were given a "mystery" quilt to do. Happily the class ended before I finished and those 60 blocks are still somewhere in a bin somewhere. It drove me crazy. I can spend hours ripping out, but to do the same blocks 240 times!!! No way! I'm a bit dyslexic and I blame all my faults in life on that (very convenient!). So I applique! Love doing it. Am not outstandingly good at it or at any quilting, but I can turn out a quilt that reflects the interests of the person for whom it is meant, and they have been loved. I can do landscapes, "modern" art, swirls of colors, Cars, tractors, houses.... anything I want) and they are fun.... not particularly good workmanship. I do really admire those quilts with tiny pieces and magnificent designs, but they are not me or mine. Should I learn to do and love doing blocks? I've decided that now that I'm in my 70s I'd rather keep doing what I want to do..... and that is mostly applique. I have done blocks, but they weren't detailed in themselves; their beauty came from the design the blocks made overall. I wish you the best in your quilting journey! I'd also love to see some pictures of your appliqued quilts....
    Last edited by Sierra; 01-18-2013 at 12:13 PM.

  11. #61
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    I think you did great for a first attempt. Try to relax and enjoy what you have finished. I always suggest a person to begin by taking a class with a good instructor. That way they don't develop bad habits in the first place. The instructor can show you how down to the littlest detail. Piecing looks so easy until you try it. Then it learning the tricks to getting everything spot on. There are so many posters here that are sharing them every day. Like don't use steam and scrubbing while you are pressing on bias edges, it is amazing how big and out of shape it will get. Just keep piecing, pressing right , reading and asking questions. You will get there, honest!
    Last edited by RedGarnet222; 01-18-2013 at 12:40 PM.
    RedGarnet222

    "Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern ... It will come out a rose by and by. Life is like that ...one stitch at a time, taken patiently."
    *Oliver Wendell Holms

  12. #62
    Junior Member Bataplai's Avatar
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    I learned to quilt about 2 years ago. I look back at my first table runner (flying geese), which I still use, and chuckle at my inexperience. No big deal - I still use the runner, it looks great and no one else notices. My BFF gave me some sound advice when I was concerned over something that didn't work out quite right recently: She said nobody will be looking at the project as closely as I was.

    Here are the things that have really helped for me (and I know I'm echoing what others have said):
    I got a 1/4" piecing foot with a guide;
    I wash, dry, then starch both sides of my fabric before cutting for a project - the starch really does help a fabric behave. I know it's a pain in the rear end and it's time consuming, but I have noticed a difference in my work since starting this;
    Through practice I've learned how to press on the ruler and use the rotary cutter. It's amazing how the smallest thing can affect the cut. I noticed you aren't using a rotary cutter - IMHO you can't get good, straight quilting cuts using scissors. It only takes being off by a hair to really mess things up.
    Practice, practice, practice. I think I'm getting pretty darn good at pieceing and getting points to line up (most of the time) and even just a new machine made a difference. I was using the 1/4" piecing foot on the new machine, just like I did on the old machine, and the row of squares came out crooked and 1/2" too short. I pulled it apart, restitched on the old machine and it was perfect. This was a huge wake up call that I need to start all over in practicing 1/4" piecing on my new machine.
    In the end my mantra is Practice, Patience and Chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
    Good luck... your topper looks really nice and I love the colors.

  13. #63
    Senior Member Sandi's Avatar
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    I can COMPLETELY sympathize with your frustration after trying so hard and I think this group has made some great suggestions. Learning the 1/4" seam accurately takes a lot of patience and you need a way to check that you are doing it right. I use a 1/4" foot and a tape marker. Some people use those foot pads for your feet on the sewing machine to guide your fabric for 1/4" seam. I went through a similar torment after making several log cabin "squares", always something was off base. I still have to be careful and go slow and check check check.

    I like your squares and your work.. the colors are great and the idea is sound. Don't give up! I won't if you won't!
    Creativity is the essence of the soul
    Sandi

  14. #64
    Senior Member Nancy Ingham's Avatar
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    I “Love” your first attempt!!

    As a newbie, use a template to trace your pieces, making sure that your pencil is slating in toward the template so as to get an accurate measurement, not away from your template which might give you an extra 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch. This can add up over the course of your finished work. Carefully cut out your fabric pieces with scissors instead of a rotary cutter as to again get an accurate cut. Make sure that your seam allowances are all just ¼ of an inch. Then when pressing, as mentioned previously, make sure that you do not drag your iron across your work as to stretch your work. Make sure that you gently place your iron down onto the piece, pick it up when you move it, and then press down onto another piece. Once you become comfortable and accurate with your work, you can start finding short cuts to take while maintaining your accuracy.

    I still use templates and scissors and find that in the long run it is rewarding and a great time saver as my quilts always square up nicely when I go ahead and layer them, quilt and bind them. Everyone has their own preference and process. You will find what is comfortable and works successfully for you.

    You are doing wonderfully…good luck ….keep up the good work…and enjoy!
    You can choose to live your live as though nothing is a miracle; or as though everything is a miracle!

  15. #65
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    Take a look at Missouri Quilting company tutorials on utube...she has a great way for piecing HST's...love your quilts ...
    Kitty

  16. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by jarenie View Post
    I tried needle turn applique and ended up with fuzzy edges when I washed the quilt. But my dogs do not mind as it is their quilt now. I have been piecing for years and have not trouble making this match.
    Want to trade. I will do your piecing and you do my applique?
    lol I'd be happy to do your applique!

  17. #67
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    I feel your pain but I don't think it looks as bad as you seem to think it does. I had a similar problem until I had a quilt teacher who taught me to press instead of iron. I was ironing the heck out of squares and using a lot of steam, and all I was doing was stretching the fabric until I learned to lift and set the iron down, instead of rubbing it all over the fabric to press. This may not be the issue with your blocks, but to me, your blocks looked stretched rather than mis-cut or mis-sewn. Still if it bothers you, try dampening and blocking your quilt like needlework and let it air dry to help straighten it a little and I think it would be fine. Whenever I start to get upset about a quilt, unless it is going in a competition, I think of how earlier women who didn't have all of the tools we have today did the best they could with their quilts and they looked just fine. We women are too self-critical and I can guarantee no one else would notice many of the things we consider to be flaws. Don't sweat the small stuff -- the thing is to enjoy being in the moment of creation! It's going to be a beautiful quilt -- I wish I had your talent for applique...talk about weird looking shapes on a quilt when I try to applique :-)

  18. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoanneS View Post
    There are so many balls to keep in the air when you're quilting, and it takes a lot of practice - LOL. You chose one of the most difficult things - quarter square triangles -QSTs. Many quilters avoid them like the plague! Same with half square triangles - HSTs. There are many tricks to make them - Thangles being one of them. Accuquilt has dies to cut out both. I bought dies in several sizes for my Accuquilt because I love HSTs , but I hated to sew them before I got my Accuquilt. Now I love to use them!

    Don't give up. Everyone has to start somewhere.

    I think you need a new blade in your rotary cutter. I put a new one in at the start of each project - though I don't use it as often now that I have Accuquilt. No, I don't work for A, nor am I an investor - LOL.
    The question about Thangles has still not been answered. This is new to me. I want to know! Are you talking about triangles? Just a misspelled word?
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

  19. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by maviskw View Post
    The question about Thangles has still not been answered. This is new to me. I want to know! Are you talking about triangles? Just a misspelled word?
    No. She really means Thangles. It's sort of a pre-printed paper piecing system.

    http://thangles.com/howtheywork.html

    If you prefer video:
    http://thangles.com/video.html

  20. #70
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    Paper piecing might help you.
    One thing that I found is that I found is that how you approach cross seams matters a lot, as does pinning. First put a pin vertically right next to the cross seam, through both pieces. This is the standard procedure. Holding it carefully, pin on either side of the first pin. (although, I generally use one pin on a diagonal.) Look at our left hand example. If you were sewing from bottom to top, It would be positioned correctly, so that your needle hits the seam allowance and locks it in place before it reaches the cross seam. If you have the reverse, the cross seams tends to be pushed apart. Of course, you may say, "What about pressing to the dark?" Where that is a problem, I clip the seam once so it can be pressed to the dark.

    When a large number of people in my guild were working on a project together, I found that several people who had been quilting much longer that I had this exact problem and had convinced themselves that they did not care. After one try with this method, they were comfortable with being "experts". Don't give up.

    Do get new blades. Rotary cutting is much faster and more exact.

  21. #71
    Super Member paulswalia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonomine View Post
    What are thangles? No, I didn't use a rotary cutter. It's been so long since I've used them their as dull as a butter knife!
    Oh My!!! You really need to use a rotary cutter - it will improve the quality of cuts dramatically. And I can see that you need to get a good quarter inch seam. the hourglass unit on the right where seamed to the center unit shows a seam that is over a quarter inch to the naked eye. I would have taken that one out and re-sewn. The good news is that some of the triangles are spot on, so I think you are close to getting this right. Just check each one for size (we call it squaring up) before you join it to the next unit.
    We are here to learn how to live in heaven - I'm still learning.

  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peckish View Post
    No. She really means Thangles. It's sort of a pre-printed paper piecing system.

    http://thangles.com/howtheywork.html
    http://thangles.com/video.html
    Thanks a bunch, Peggi!
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

  23. #73
    Super Member MaryAnnMc's Avatar
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    You know, I had to really look for the errors. If they don't jump out at me, I'd say quilt 'er up and count it as practice. Once it's quilted, they won't be obvious at all. I think it's very nice. I haven't been quilting long, and some of my first attempts were disasters. But practice really does make.. well, at least better.
    aka Chicken McLittle

    If it's true we learn from our mistakes, I'm going to be a genius!

  24. #74
    Junior Member DeAnne-Mn.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltingdragon View Post
    I am still horrible with triangles. One of the ladies in the guild taught me to cut them so they come out right. It's all about finding a cutting and measuring style that works for you. I started piecing with simple patchwork squares, nine patches, etc - no triangles, just worked on seam matching. Then I moved up to things like shoo fly, churn dash, and friendship stars. I'm just starting to try some of the patterns with more triangles now after almost 6 years of serious quilting.
    I agree, it's best to work on one thing at a time and then step up to more difficult patterns. Voice of experience here, I thought everything should turn out right the first time---Wrong!
    DeAnne

  25. #75
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    I have been quilting for 30 years - still not perfect....lol...but, the girls are right. You must double check your cutting - must use a rotary cutter and be sure to line up your ruler markings the same way each time you cut (are you inside the heavy black lines or on the outside edge of them). But the number one thing I have found is in pressing! I use a cut & press board with ruler markings on it - and I actually block the quilt squares as I press with steam. Triangles especially will stretch...so blocking them to the correct size works wonders! Then, just keep doing your piecing...it really does improve with practice! Yours looks fine to me!

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